Resolution rejects state house bills to force cooperation with federal immigration officials
By a vote of 7 to 4 Tuesday evening, the Kalamazoo county commission approved a resolution opposing the local and county sanctuary policy prohibition acts. It was introduced by Vice-chair Tracy Hall and states that while Kalamazoo considers itself a welcoming county, it is not a sanctuary county. Still, Michigan House bills 4083 and 4090 would “negatively impact communities welcoming immigrants, including Kalamazoo County, across the state of Michigan (and) place an undue burden on local government, particularly law enforcement, health, social and court service programming.”
“These state bills would mandate cruelty toward our neighbors at a local level by requiring officials to directly aid the increasingly aggressive, immoral, and unnecessary tactics of Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE),” said Samad Nadeem, a Michigan United activist in Kalamazoo. “This resolution tonight is an important stand against racial profiling. It is also a necessary gesture if you want immigrant communities to trust, rather than fear, local police departments.”
Samad’s mother, Saheeda has been forced to take sanctuary in First Congregational Church to avoid deportation and the hazards that would await her in Pakistan. “House bills 4083 and 4090 are part of a disturbing trend of hostility to immigrants and people of color nationally,” he said. “My mom’s stay in church has been trying, like running a marathon. It’s really encouraging to have the county officially stand up for us like this.“
While the resolution is to be commended, support for immigrants in our community wasn’t clear and unanimous.
“As her constituent, I was surprised and disappointed by Commissioner Meredith Place’s no vote,” said Paula White, Michigan United Board Member and Portage resident. “She seemed to think that this isn’t a local issue. But house bills 4083 and 4090 would directly impact how local officials do their jobs. The Michigan Association of Counties and the Sheriffs Association oppose these bills, so we know they are both local issues and they are certainly moral issues.”
Copies of the resolution will be sent to the state representatives and senators representing Kalamazoo, state House and Senate majority and minority leadership, the Governor of the State of Michigan, and the federal congressional delegation.
This victory is the result of fierce advocacy by the Michigan Immigrant Rights Center (MIRC). For more information on house bills 4083 and 4090 and what you can do to oppose them in your community, visit: https://michiganimmigrant.org/hb-4083-hb-4090-2019